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Jayne Klein – ATHENA Award Recipient 2013

April 2013

2013 ATHENA recipient, Jayne Klein

Born and raised in Baltimore City, Klein moved to Baltimore County when she was about 10 years old. She attended Randallstown High School and graduated with a degree in Dietetics from the University of Maryland, completing her internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Klein married into the local namesake family and started her own. “My mother-in-law was a real role model for me,” confesses Klein, referring to family matriarch, Shirley Klein. “She and the whole Klein family worked tirelessly for the community.” Jayne Klein is married to Andy Klein, son of Shirley and Ralph Klein. Klein’s ShopRite provides more than $150,000 in direct support to community-based organizations annually, as well as funding a $40,000 education grant through the Ralph & Shirley Klein Foundation. “It has been my life philosophy to help others, or as I often say, ‘Leave the world a better place,’” states Klein. “I think we have to start in our community then reach out from there.”

Klein admits that a few philosophical quotes have helped her retain her focus in how she conducts her life. “One is based on the premise that we each have a duty to help others – it says something like the strong help the weak, the rich help the poor, the healthy help the sick. Another one is a quote that Lyle Sheldon [CEO of Upper Chesapeake Health] often uses that God likes a cheerful giver. I take it to mean that we should gladly help others and not feel burdened that we have to. The whole Klein family and I feel so grateful for our good fortune, which in part is based on the support of our community, that we choose to give back to the community. I try to help others in both large and small ways – in large ways by monetary support to various organizations, and often in small ways, by helping one person or a family in need.”

Klein also gains inspiration from other philanthropists. “Locally, the Dresher family has been an amazing role model for me. They are able to make a difference to many local non-profits by their generosity, and organized approach to grant making. They try to use their funds to enable a non-profit to become self sufficient as well as fund various programs. I also follow the actions of well-known philanthropists such as Bill Gates, and various people in Baltimore. I admire those people who find a need and then work on not only giving money but also helping people find solutions to make things better. I was in Africa this summer, and saw that The Gates Foundation and Bill Clinton had started a project of donating mosquito netting for the native population, which had cut down on the incidence of malaria, by over 60 percent. It had had a dramatic effect on the quality of life there.”

Many organizations have benefitted from Klein’s involvement. She chooses where to spend her time and resources with organizations that have a close personal tie to her or her family and with organizations that support and advance the causes for women. She is a current commissioner on Harford County’s Commission for Women and has been an active member of her synagogue, the Harford Jewish Center, for over 30 years. When her children were in school at Harford Day School, she served on their Board for 10 years. “Several years ago, I was approached to be on the Board of Family and Children’s Service. The agency sponsors a variety of programs that help families with physical and sexual abuse – a large problem in Harford County that is often not discussed. They also have programs for school-aged children who need extra attention in school and programs for the elderly like the Adult Day Care Center at Harford Community College. The Center is the only not-for-profit adult day care facility in Harford County, and they are able to offer their services on a sliding scale so that all families can afford to use them.” Klein sat on the main board and is president of the local advisory board as well.

“Jayne is the primary example of a servant leader. Her motives for supporting philanthropy are never directed toward personal gain, but only for the betterment of our community. She is a quiet, unimposing leader, who gets the job done through her obvious dedication and commitment to causes she values.” – Marlene Y. Lieb, Liaison for Strategic Partnership Development, Harford Community College

After experiencing the positive impact on a community after working with the Baltimore Community Foundation, Klein found herself gravitating to Harford’s Community Foundation. She is currently serving as President of the Board and putting her energy into promoting the organization and raising its public profile. When she joined the Community Foundation here, one of the first things she brought forward was the concept of the Women’s Giving Circle. “I first heard of a Giving Circle from a fellow Board Member on the main Board of Family and Children’s Services. Pam Cochran and Shelley Goldseker had started the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle and the Baltimore Sun had written an article about it describing how it worked. As someone who is constantly solicited to contribute to various organizations both personally and through business, the idea of knowing what my contribution would be and then being able to have a voice on where the money would go greatly appealed to me.”

The concept of a giving circle is quite simple. Each woman who joins contributes a minimum amount of money and is then able to vote as a committee on where the money is allocated. According to the Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County website (, membership is open to any woman who desires to further the mission and goals of the Giving Circle through a minimum financial contribution of $550: $500 is used for grants and building an endowment, and $50 for administrative expenses. Klein approached friend and community supporter, Marlene Lieb, and together they founded the group which to date has awarded over $55,000 in grants in just two years. “I am most proud that we have established an endowed fund at the Community Foundation. This means there will be funding on a permanent basis for projects that help women, children and their families in Harford County. There is a huge gap in funding for non-profits in our community. State and local support has endured huge cuts over the past few years. Both the Community Foundation and the Women’s Giving Circle can help bridge the gap through our grants.”

One of the criterion to be awarded the ATHENA honor is to demonstrate how you are helping other women reach their leadership potential. Klein believes that the Women’s Giving Circle helps achieve that. “Since the formation of the Circle, we have been able to empower women to realize the potential they have as philanthropists. By awarding grants to causes that benefit women, we are also encouraging the women we help to grow and accept leadership roles that will improve their lives.”

“Jayne visited LASOS ( summer camp last year for at-risk children to discuss her family’s philanthropic history. Instead of her taking the spotlight, she took the opportunity to engage the students, to empower them to believe in themselves and that anything is possible. She left that day not only having shared fresh peaches with them but in reality, she left them with hope for a future filled with opportunity!”– Melynda Velez

Of course, Klein’s generosity and compassions starts in her home. Klein has endured the loss of both of her sisters – one from complications from epilepsy and the other just three years ago from pancreatic cancer. “I helped Barbara through four years of her cancer, serving as her patient advocate and providing emotional support. I now help her two sons as much as I can. I hope that my own children will carry on the legacy of philanthropy, volunteering and compassion. My husband and I try to set the example by our actions. My children have attended fundraisers we’ve chaired, volunteered on projects we were involved with, and watched us participate over the years in every capacity. I encourage them to support the non-profits they are passionate about.” And, by doing so, leave the world a better place. I95


From left: Patrice Ricciardi, Mary Ann Bogarty, Joyce Duffy, Jayne Klein, Tami Zavislan, Mary Hastler and Mary Lynn Doak as Klein accepts the ATHENA Award.